Electrical installation best practices for your new home

Moving into a new home or building a new home presents you with plenty of things you need to consider. One of the biggest challenges you tend to face, however, is getting your electrical installations done.

Sometimes, the home you are moving into may not always have the best electrical infrastructure, leading to all kinds of electrical issues, from poor wiring to power surges. A poorly constructed electrical infrastructure could even lead to electrical hazards.

If you’re planning on building a new home, you will need to plan out your system from scratch. Everything from the outlets to the wiring will need to be configured for a safe and more efficient electrical system.

Here are a few best practices you can follow in this process.

Install miniature circuit breakers

Miniature circuit breakers (MCB) are automatically operated electrical switches that can protect low voltage electrical circuits from getting damaged from excess electrical current.

MCBs are more popular compared to standard fuses for low electrical networks given that they are more sensitive to changes in the current than fuses. 

Unlike fuses, MCBs also do not need to be replaced once they’ve fulfilled their purpose; with the simple flip of a switch, they are functional again. 

The MCB is ideal for protecting electrical appliances like electric kettles, microwave ovens and TVs.

Know your wire and cable types

There is no one-size-fits-all or all-purposive wire for home wiring. There are many different types of wires, designed for different purposes and those that function across a variety of circuits.

The most common type of wiring used in homes is nonmetallic cables (NM cables), in which two or more wires are wrapped in a single sheath. These include:

  • 14-gauge (15-amp circuits)
  • 12-gauge (20-amp circuits)
  • 10-gauge (30-amp circuits)
  • 8-gauge (40-amp circuits)
  • 6-gauge (55-amp circuits)

Underground feeder cables (UF cables) are a type of NM cable that is used for powering outdoor fixtures. These cables are designed to withstand water and are usually buried in the ground. 

THHN and THWN wires are individual wires that have their own sheaths and are usually colour coded to indicate the role they play in the circuit. The letters indicate their specific properties:

  • T: Made of thermoplastic
  • H: Means heat resistant (HH means “highly heat resistant”)
  • W: Can be used in wet places
  • N: Coated with nylon

Finally, Low-voltage wires. These wires are used for circuits requiring 50 volts or less and are typically used for doorbells, lighting and speaker systems. 

As a best practice, don’t use these to handle a large voltage as they run the risk of becoming damaged.

Grounding

Grounding protects you and your loved ones from experiencing electric shocks if there is any faulty wiring within your infrastructure. After setting up your home’s electrical installations, always make sure everything is grounded properly.

Electrical leaks from appliances and faulty wiring could flow through exposed metal surfaces and create shock hazards. With grounding, any excess electricity can be safely diverted into the ground. 

In most Australian homes, the wiring system is grounded using a metal rod or a metal pipe that is driven into the ground. If you’ve moved into a new home, you can tell if the home has been grounded by checking if the power outlets accept three-pronged plugs; this means that the outlet has three wires, one of them being the grounding wire.

At the same time, check if your appliances have three-pronged plugs too; this means they are designed to be grounded.

Follow the latest best practices when it comes to your electrical installation

Whether you are moving into a new home or building one, having the right electrical infrastructure is vital for any residential space. Electricity is the force that directs a lot of what you do in life and when it’s properly constructed, you get the best of it!

If you need advice on how to go about installing components of your electrical system, consider working with domestic electrical service providers.


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